BOC scraps rule on stuffing of export containers
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has scrapped the rule requiring the presence of Customs personnel during the stuffing of containers for export after it drew flak from the exporters themselves.
BOC Commissioner John Phillip P. Sevilla issued Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 4-2015 on Jan. 21, which repealed the portion in the revised Port Operations Manual that mandated the presence of BOC personnel during container stuffing as well as required exporters to submit a Notice of Stuffing or NOS.
“The repeal of Section 16.B.1.1 means that there is no longer any requirement for exporters or their brokers to submit a Notice of Stuffing, nor any requirement for a stuffing inspector to be present during the stuffing of a container. The Authority to Load issued by the export division shall be sufficient basis for an export container to be loaded,” CMO 4-2015 read.
Exporters earlier bewailed the implementation since Jan. 15 of CMO 22-2010, which had put in place the revised Port Operations Manual.
In a Jan. 6 letter to Sevilla, Philippine Exporters Confederation (PhilExport) president Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. claimed that implementing CMO 22-2010 “presents another opportunity for graft and corruption” as it required “signatories that pose situations for ‘table certification’ due to the administrative and technical costs and difficulties of implementing this policy.”
“Conducting such inspections will likewise contribute to the shipment delays and rising costs that exporters are forced to deal with because of congestion,” Ortiz-Luis added.
During a meeting with exporters last Tuesday, Sevilla himself “admitted to insufficient Customs personnel to handle [the] implementation” of CMO 22-2010, hence suspended its implementation, according to a statement issued by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday.
Charo Logarta-Lagamon, who heads the BOC’s public information and assistance division, noted in an e-mail last Wednesday that “[t]he intent of [CMO 22-2010’s] provision is to ascertain the legitimacy of exporters and their goods, as well as ensure that exports are not used for smuggling,” as mandated under Executive Order No. 127 granting the BOC police powers.
Even as the order was signed five years ago, “[t]he requirement for stuffing was never properly implemented… for lack of manpower,” she added.
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